Robert M. Shelton
Scott W. Sunquist, Henry Hardy, Kathryn Tanner,Hugh Halverstadt, Jean Stairs
Theodore V. Foote
, written by Rosemary Radford Ruether andHerman J. Ruether,
reviewed by J. Andrew Dearman
The Faculty Journal of Austin Seminary
Volume 118Number 1
Scott Black Johnston, Timothy Kubatzky,Michael Miller, and Randal Whittington
Insights:The Faculty Journal of Austin Seminary
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“Christ of St. John of the Cross” (1951) Salvador Dali, in the collection of Glasgow Museums: The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life & Art. Reprinted with permission.
The inspiration for Dali’s “Christ of St. John of the Cross” lay in what Dali described as “a cosmic dream” in which he saw Christ as the “nucleus of the atom,” that point of unity and energy that holds together and gives creative power to the entire universe. This dream was given specific form when Dali studied a drawing of “Christ on the Cross” by St. John of the Cross, a sixteenth-century Spanish mystic.Dali’s painting portrays the crucified Christ suspended above the world. The crucifixion, grounded ina moment in human history, provides the critical theological reference point by which history can be understood, as though to say that God’s ultimate purpose for the world and the meaning of humanhistory is revealed in this single event. Yet the significance of the event is not clearly discernible on the plane of the characters at sea level in the painting, except by faith. For Christians, Dali’s vision serves as a powerful reminder of our limited vision, our inability to see clearly the meaning of the whole, and of our indebtedness to God’s grace, a grace we are called to extend to others.